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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  March 2010

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING March 2010

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Subject:

Re: I have a dream....

From:

Richard Rinehart <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Richard Rinehart <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:17:24 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (531 lines)

Hi Caitlin, Everyone,

First, Caitlin, congrats on your new job! And, as usual you ask the  
tough questions. So let's get to them (with Beryl's and Sarah's  
indulgence......we seem to stray off and back onto the monthly topic  
of commissions, but as long as we're talking, right? :)

I think of the Open Museum as more of a framework or even a self- 
imposed certification that you could adopt for your own variable media  
collection rather than a discrete resource unto itself. And your  
question about how it relates to other/discrete resources leads to me  
to propose the model below as a kind of continuum of access that is  
enabled by the unique qualities of digital and variable media. No  
point on the continuum is any better than any other and they are all  
innovative/transformative in relation to traditional art collections  
access.

1. ArtStor - online database of representations of traditional artworks
* pictures of paintings

2. Ubuweb - online database of variable versions of media artworks
* digital videos of analog videos
* provides access to <a version of> the work itself

3. Rhizome ArtBase - online database of variable/new media artworks
* view netart works in their native format
* access to work itself
* descriptive metadata about new media works not online

4. Open Museum - any online database of variable/new media artworks +  
sources + permission
* view netart works in their native format
* access to work itself + source files underlying each work so you can  
look under the hood or remix
* documentation with instructions for re-creating work
* legal framework allowing the above

What do you think?

(The little BAM/PFA NetArtchive, for instance, adopts 3 of the 4 Open  
Museum qualifiers but not all, and so far is adjunct to a specific  
curatorial program rather than an open-ended database; slow-growing;  
filtered; baby step.)

You could use VMQ/MANS to document works in an Open Museum, but you  
don't need to. It's a related but separate prospect.

I'm not sure who is not building on who's previous work as you said  
(c'mon, name names!), but to be sure, whereas science and law are  
pretty good about  building upon precedent, the cultural sector loves  
to re-invent the wheel (even with regards to collecting/preserving  
variable media art). I'm sure I'm as guilty as any, but I do at least  
try to propose standards-based solutions that themselves build upon  
previous work.

For instance, with MANS (Media Art Notation System) I looked around  
the field at the time and saw that there were several proposals for  
how to document new media art, but none had yet proposed a standards- 
based way of doing that; specifically with the intent to re-create the  
work. I saw the Variable Media Questionnaire as the best tool (and  
implicit conceptual model) for that out there and wondered "what if  
other people wanted to build their own VMQ tool?" So, MANS was an  
attempt to express the implicit VMQ conceptual model in a way that was  
explicit and standards-based (+ MANS is itself simply a flavor of  
MPEG-21 + Dublin Core XML standards, rather than yet another home- 
grown cultural standard like METS, MARC, etc.) I'm not tied to MANS,  
but as far as I know, there remains no other standards-based solution  
for describing variable media art with the specific intent of allowing  
it's re-creation (is there?!)
(more about MANS at: http://www.coyoteyip.com/leonardo_mans.pdf)

Lastly, ideas around the Open Museum and MANS are discussed at more at  
length in Jon's and my forthcoming book from MIT Press, Spring 2011  
(did I say I was done with shameless promotions?)

Richard Rinehart
---------------
Digital Media Director & Adjunct Curator
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
bampfa.berkeley.edu
---------------
University of California, Berkeley
---------------
2625 Durant Ave.
Berkeley, CA, 94720-2250
ph.510.642.5240
fx.510.642.5269




On Mar 22, 2010, at 3:21 PM, Caitlin Jones wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> I have been reading the past week of posts with much interest. I have
> recently taken a job as the Executive Director of the Western Front in
> Vancouver, BC (www.front.bc.ca), an institution with an enormous  
> archive of
> media art from the early 1970s to the present. As I work to create a
> comprehensive plan for dealing with this resource I have been  
> impressed by
> the amount of research, tools and strategies -- most available  
> online for
> reference. Even thought I have been intimately involved in this  
> field for
> many years, in trying to acquaint my staff with the state of the  
> field and
> research workable strategies it seems to me that we have come very  
> far in a
> short period.
>
> This is of course not to say that much work is not still to be done,  
> but I
> am always interested in the drive to always be creating "new" tools  
> and
> strategies, rather than evaluate and build upon the tools that are  
> already
> in existence.
>
> In particular I have a question to Rick. I am extremely interested  
> in this
> idea of the Open Museum and would certainly like to hear more about  
> it. But
> I'm also interested in how you see it in relationship to Rhizome's  
> ArtBase
> (an online database which allows for the voluntary contribution of  
> work and
> metadata), and also in relationship to your own MANS project?
>
> Best,
>
> Caitlin Jones
>
>
> On Sat, Mar 13, 2010 at 8:26 AM, Oliver Grau <[log in to unmask] 
> >wrote:
>
>> Thank youRoger for this. You made a very important point for all of  
>> us
>> here and Istrongly like to support your thought by adding my five  
>> cents.
>>
>> Comparablewith natural sciences, digital media and new  
>> opportunities of
>> networkedresearch catapult the cultural sciences within reach of  
>> new and
>> essentialresearch, like appropriate documentation and preservation of
>> media art, or evenbetter, an entire history of visual media and their
>> human cognition by means ofthousands of sources. These themes  
>> express in
>> regard to image revolutioncurrent key questions. In order to push
>> humanities and cultural sciences intheir development, it is  
>> necessary to
>> use the new technologies globally and create a research  
>> infrastructure
>> which is organisided much more intercontinental than now.
>>
>> Since the foundation of the pioneering Databaseof Virtual Art  
>> anumber of
>> online archives for digitization and documentation arose:
>> LangloisFoundation inMontreal, Netzspannung at the Frauenhofer  
>> Institut
>> or MedienKunstNetz at ZKM * most of these projectsterminated, their
>> funding expired, or they lost key researchers like V2 inRotterdam.  
>> Even
>> the Boltzmann Institut for Media Art Research in Linz, faced recently
>> itsclose-down after an evaluation. In this way the originated  
>> scientific
>> archiveswhich more and more often represent the only remaining image
>> source of the art works,do not only lose step by step their  
>> significance
>> for research and preservationbut in the meantime partly disappear  
>> from
>> the web. Not only the media artitself, but also its documentation  
>> fads
>> that future generations of researchersand public will not be able  
>> to get
>> an idea of the past and the art of our time.To put it another way,  
>> till
>> now no sustainable strategy exits. What we need isa concentrated and
>> compact expansion of ability. There is/was increasingcollaboration  
>> with
>> these projects in a variety of areas and in changingcoalitions. But  
>> in
>> the field of documentation projects - real preservationprojects do  
>> not
>> exist yet (beside fantastic case studies) - the focus is  
>> stilldirected
>> too much towards particularisation, instead of concentrating  
>> forces,what
>> is essential strategy in most other fields (as Roger pointed out).
>> Manyindividual projects are definitely innovative but too small and
>> without clearlarger scientific strategy and safe financing, which  
>> is not
>> their fault. Someprojects are already expired and not carried  
>> further.
>> Lots of competence and culturalwealth, but too much separationism.
>>
>> Especially the university based researchprojects and partly also the
>> ones which are linked to museums have developedexpertise that needs  
>> to
>> be included in cultural circulation, not only in orderto pass it on  
>> to
>> future generations of scientists and archivists but also togive it a
>> chance to flow into future university education in the fields of
>> art,engineering, and media history. Clearly, the goal must be to  
>> develop
>> a policyand strategy for collecting the art of our latest history  
>> under
>> the umbrella ofa strong, let’s say “Library of Congress like”
>> institution. Ultimately, however, this can onlybe organized by a  
>> network
>> of artists, computer and science centers, galleries,technology  
>> producers
>> and museums. Those projects which collected culturallyimportant
>> documents in the past and which often expired, were not further
>> supportedor even lost their base must be supported and reanimated.  
>> They
>> should beorganized like a corona around an institution which receives
>> the duty ofdocumentation and may be even the collection of  
>> contemporary
>> media art, such aninstitution could be in the USA, the Library of
>> Congress; in Europe, besidesthe new European digital libraries  
>> database
>> Europeana, it could be the BibliothequeNational, the  
>> BritishLibrary, the
>> V&A or in Germany beside the ZKM for example the DeutscheBibliothek  
>> or
>> even better a Max Planck Institute.Interestingly the libraries show
>> increasingly interest to archive multimediaworks and their
>> documentation; however, the usually complex cultural andtechnical  
>> know
>> how is lacking in order to preserve principal works of the  
>> mostimportant
>> media art genres of the last decades. Not only can the
>> internationalstate of Media Art be a hinderance in creating common
>> projects, also the FUNDINGINFRASTRUCTURE of media art documentation  
>> so
>> far, has normally promotedprojects for 2, 3, or more years,  
>> neglecting
>> sustainability. A structure whichupdates, extends and contextualizes
>> research * whether in historical orcontemporary contexts is required.
>> The funding and support infrastructureswhich have been built in the  
>> end
>> of the last century are not suitable forscientific and cultural  
>> tasks in
>> the Humanities of the 21st Century.
>>
>> What is needed in the (Digital) Humanities isan institutional support
>> equivalent to that in Astronomy, Biology or ClimateResearch, in  
>> order to
>> create enough momentum and adhesion the main fundingorganizations  
>> like
>> NSF, NEH, the European Research Council, DFG, VolkswagenFoundation  
>> etc.
>> have to support on an international level the necessaryresearch
>> structure for research in Media Art and the Digital Humanities  
>> ingeneral
>> needed in the 21st century.
>>
>>
>> oliver
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>>>> roger malina  13.03.10 13.45 Uhr >>>
>> Rick
>>
>> Look forward to seeing the book. Re the Open Museum discussion,
>> i recently posted my Open Observatory manifesto
>>
>>
>> http://www.leoalmanac.org/index.php/lea/entry/an_open_observatory_manifesto/
>>
>> I am heavily influenced here by my work as an astronomer over the  
>> last
>> thirty
>> years. Thirty years ago astronomers viewed the data they took ( in  
>> those
>> days
>> photographic plates) as their personal property and their careers  
>> hinged
>> on
>> their
>> controlling this data ( and their students careers depended on their
>> access
>> to their
>> professors data). Today NASA and NSF now have a contractual  
>> stipulation
>> that
>> all data
>> funded by NASA must be made publically available= its funded by  
>> public
>> money
>> so the public has a right to access it. This has led to a scientific
>> revolution in
>> astronomy= more science is now done on the hubble data archive, than
>> with
>> new observations= and more science is done by other people than by  
>> the
>> astronomers who took the data. The international virtual observatory
>> movement
>> has generalised this and there are now shared data analysis tools  
>> that
>> are
>> open sourced.
>>
>> This open data is still not the case in many fields of science even
>> though
>> the data was funded by public monies, but its a growing trend (even  
>> in
>> the
>> genome project). And indeed
>> the model is that the scientist is funded up front to take the  
>> data, and
>> then
>> its open sourced. In the humanities its still not the case often= and
>> access
>> to collections is tightly controlled ( cf the ongoing debate about  
>> the
>> dead
>> sea
>> scrolls..)
>>
>> So a first piece of your open museum proposal could simply be that
>> any work commissioned using public monies must be open sourced
>> on the ideological basis that the public paid for it so they have a
>> right
>> to it. And indeed the artist is paid up front ( just as the  
>> scientist is
>> paid
>> up front)
>>
>> This approach obviously ignores the fact that in art ( as opposed to
>> science)
>> a lot of the art economy depends on speculation and that a small tiny
>> fraction
>> of artists get very rich because the intellectual property can be
>> controlled
>> and
>> monetarised in speculation. I guess in science the equivalent is  
>> that a
>> few
>> scientists have benefited from very lucrative patents that they have
>> filed-
>> which are not so much speculative but are market driven. Patents that
>> result
>> from government funding are tightly regulated, with the inventor  
>> and the
>> institutions
>> getting their share.
>>
>> Many of these issues were discussed at the CODE conference some years
>> back and in the book edited by Ghosh in the leonardo book series
>>
>> http://leonardo.info/isast/leobooks/books/ghosh.html
>>
>> Open source software is considered by many to be a novelty and the  
>> open
>> source movement a revolution. Yet the collaborative creation of
>> knowledge
>> has gone on for as long as humans have been able to communicate. CODE
>> looks
>> at the collaborative model of creativity -- with examples ranging  
>> from
>> collective ownership in indigenous societies to free software,  
>> academic
>> science, and the human genome project -- and finds it an  
>> alternative to
>> proprietary frameworks for creativity based on strong intellectual
>> property
>> rights.
>>
>> the museum issue is tangentially addressed
>>
>>
>> roger
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:59 PM, Richard Rinehart wrote:
>>
>>> Hello again New-Media-Curating,
>>>
>>> In addition to the other mischief we like to cause individually, Jon
>>> Ippolito and I are co-authoring a book for MIT Press, due out Spring
>> '11 on
>>> collecting and preserving new media art .
>>>
>>> I include below a brief excerpt from the book relevant to our
>> discussion
>>> this month on commissioning variable media art. In it, I'm  
>>> proposing a
>> new
>>> model for an archive of new media art I call "the Open Museum" and
>>> describing perhaps a new way that commissioning could be seen to
>> function in
>>> that.
>>>
>>> I was originally inspired along these lines by the V2 arts
>> organization in
>>> Rotterdam that had a stipulation in which new media works  
>>> commissioned
>> for
>>> their lab space must remain open-source within the lab space for
>> future
>>> commissioned artists. It got me thinking, why not take that great  
>>> idea
>> a
>>> couple steps further.....
>>>
>>> "Students, scholars, and the public can currently access images and
>> records
>>> *representations - of artworks held in museum collections, but they
>> cannot
>>> access the collections themselves. The Open Museum takes advantage  
>>> of
>> the
>>> unique property of new media that allows one to share the original
>> without
>>> diminishing it. In the Open Museum, the source code and other files
>> for
>>> digital artworks from the collection are free for users to download,
>> study,
>>> use, and re-mix into new works. In this way, even the casual student
>> can
>>> peer under the hood and examine the inner workings of these artworks
>> in the
>>> way that previously only privileged scholars could with traditional
>> material
>>> collections. .......
>>>
>>> Intellectual property law was created to balance the private need  
>>> with
>> the
>>> public good. It grants authors and artists exclusive rights over  
>>> their
>> work
>>> for a limited period (not a short period, sometimes 90 years after  
>>> the
>>> artists lifetime) after which the rights in the work move into the
>> public
>>> domain. The artist has time to find ways to earn a livelihood from
>> their
>>> work and this is seen as an incentive to create in the first place.
>> Why
>>> then, could not public museums act as stewards of the public good  
>>> and
>>> compensate the artist earlier rather than later by commissioning  
>>> works
>> for
>>> the Open Museum, after which they apply Creative Commons licenses  
>>> and
>>> release the work to the public. The museum would earn their renown  
>>> not
>> for
>>> the quality of art they obtain in exclusivity, but for the art they
>> obtain
>>> and then give away. The artist gets money up front and still owns
>> their
>>> work. And the public is served by waiting months rather than decades
>> to gain
>>> access and rights to use the work in question."
>>>
>>> Two more items.
>>>
>>> Within the Berkeley Art Museum's net art portal, we were able to
>> include
>>> *some* of the function of the Open Museum - an open-source net art
>> archive.
>>> Call it a baby step.
>>> (see http://netart.bampfa.berkeley.edu and scroll down to  
>>> NetArtchive)
>>>
>>> An earlier post to this list (from Leigh I believe; I lost the  
>>> email),
>>> outlined how public institutions in Scotland are now using their
>> muscle to
>>> gain IP rights in works they commission. While public art funding  
>>> and
>> IP are
>>> quite different between the UK, US, Canada and elsewhere, I wonder  
>>> if
>> the
>>> Open Museum provides a more positive spin on how public institutions
>> could
>>> partner with artists with regard to the disposition of IP in
>> commissioned
>>> works - or - is the Open Museum just another step toward big brother
>> taking
>>> everything?
>>>
>>> What do you all think? What are the ways in which commissioning new
>> media
>>> *could* work in addition to how it already works? What are your
>> dreams?
>>>
>>> Richard Rinehart
>>> ---------------
>>> Digital Media Director & Adjunct Curator
>>> Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
>>> bampfa.berkeley.edu
>>> ---------------
>>> University of California, Berkeley
>>> ---------------
>>> 2625 Durant Ave.
>>> Berkeley, CA, 94720-2250
>>> ph.510.642.5240
>>> fx.510.642.5269
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Roger Malina is in France at this time
>>
>> I
>> 011  33 (0) 6 15 79 59 26
>> or         (0) 6 80 45 94 47
>> Roger Malina is acting Director of the Observatoire Astronomique de
>> Marseille Provence and Executive Editor of the Leonardo  
>> Publications at
>> MIT
>> Press and member of the steering committee of IMERA the Mediterranean
>> Institute for Advanced Studies.
>>

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